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Ladies, Are You Better Off in Fargo?

Vivia Chen

September 12, 2016

Here's my latest compilation of quirky, weird and mind-boggling news:

1. Women should move where?!? If these are truly the best American cities for female lawyers, some of us might just opt to put up with sexism. Law.com recently listed nine cities where female lawyers thrive, and many (let's be honest—most) are places that I'd be perfectly happy never to visit, much less live:


St. Paul

Bismarck, ND


Madison, WI

Albany, NY

Fargo, ND



Before you start ranting about my New York provincialism, let me tell you I've been to four of those cities, and that I only find one to be somewhat livable (can you guess which one?). I'm not sure what to make of this dreary list: Is this a conspiracy to ship uppity women to the hinder lands so they'll quietly disappear into the snow?

2. Thanks for the heads-up on those Melania escort rumors! Ah, the perils of threatening a lawsuit: If celebrity lawyer Charles Harder had not fired off a warning to various news outlets for publishing stories that the current Mrs. Donald Trump once worked as an "escort" during the early '90s, I never would have dreamed of the connection.

But once Harder issued the threat to UK's Daily Mail (which broke the story), among other publications, for making those "false and defamatory" allegations, I thought: Guess it's plausible. After all, Melania was young, a new arrival in this country (remember, there's doubt about her legal status at the time) and needed to make dough. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I'm open-minded.

3. The Donald is correct: There's too much political correctness. Y'all remember those naked Donald Trump sculptures that popped up in five American cities recently? They showed a life-size, fleshy version of Trump. The work was called "The Emperor Has No Balls"—which, I think, is self-explanatory.

I thought they were pretty clever and funny—but apparently I'm just not very sensitive.

Pauline Campos, an opinion writer at Time, writes: "I’m not laughing. I am a life-long recovering bulimic with body-image issues that I fight daily. Every pot shot I see directed at Trump in my social media timelines makes me cringe."

Murray Whyte writes in the Guardian: "The piece, with its slumpy, distended belly, withered buttocks and sagging pectorals, crosses callously into generalized ageism and body-shaming; unlike the attempted caricaturization of Trump’s particular bits, this is no joke, but rather an expression of unmitigated contempt, and whatever else it does, it dissolves satirical intent in an instant."

The Trump sculpture as a symbol of body-shaming and ageism? Puh-leese! Talk about political correctness run amuck!

Donald, of all people, you must agree that those art pieces were quite entertaining. I'm sure you got the joke. I mean, you wouldn't be so sensitive as to sue or intimidate the artist, right?



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I've practiced law for over 30 years in Denver, after growing up outside of Chicago and going to law school in Austin. I've been more annoyed over the years by condescension from East Coast (especially New York) lawyers than I have been by sexism from local attorneys - and your reaction to this list of good locations for women attorneys only serves to underscore this point.

Denver is a great place to practice law and an even better place to live. One that many of us far prefer to New York City!

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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